Several weeks after Japan started canceling sport and cultural events amid the broadening of the Covid-19 outbreak, Japanese Olympic organizers discussed on Tuesday the possibility the Games could be postponed.
Haruyuki Takahashi, one of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee’s executive board members, said the Games could be delayed for one or two years. Takahashi said canceling the Games would have significant financial ramifications.
“I don’t think the Games could be canceled. It’d be a delay,” Takahashi told The Wall Street Journal. “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) would be in trouble if there’s a cancellation. American TV rights alone provide them with a huge amount.”
Kazuhiro Tateda, an infectious disease expert of the Japanese government, said the fast-spreading virus could be sticking around a lot longer than many have anticipated, despite the upcoming warmer season.
“Unlike the flu that disappears with warmer weather, the response to the new coronavirus, I think, will have to continue for half a year or a year,” Tateda told NHK on Tuesday.
For their part, the International Olympic Committee and local organizers say the games are on, but the clock is ticking…
“From what we know from numerous other mass-gathering events including sporting events, it is very easy to spread diseases worldwide from such events – from meningitis to Zika,” Dr. Ali Khan. an epidemiologist and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska, told the AP.